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This Churchill Will Give Up

all the bombast in the world cannot save him, but this Balrog will take others down into the chasm as well

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.

I hope it isn’t coincidence, but it seems like all the pretensions of the American Right under George Bush’s lies and incompetence, and the American Left’s equally fake Ward Churchill have come home to roost, as it were, and thoroughly embarrassed both, and shamed all of us for having knowingly tolerated it.

Professor Ward Churchill has been taken to the woodshed by five better educated people than himself in formal committee, which issued a 125 page report that I read last night. Trust me, Churchill is nailed to the wall. There are more charges to come, and the report lists the attempts by Churchill to change his story. It’s bad. Many are giddy with happiness. They really, really shouldn’t be.

The problem for people like Governor Owens, who never served in the military, is that Churchill served, and whatever else, he has demonstrated a traditional form of patriotism that many of his pasty faced opponents, who’d never dare confront him face to face, cannot match on their resumes. Churchill is well thought of as a teacher by his students, although possibly for easy grades, and has demonstrated prodigious energy. No idiot, he’s revealed us to be chumps of the first rank.

Ward Churchill has always been a fraud and unqualified for his position by education. He is neither a historian, nor an ethnologist, nor an Indian, which was probably the gimmick that got him a job in the first place. I wonder if he even speaks any Indian dialects? He can only claim Indianhood because of the blatant attempt by Native Americans to up their voting block with qualifications so broad and vague that Kofi Annan and Vladimir Putin both might qualify. Even so, Churchill is only an “Associate,” which has all the turgor of an Honorary Degree in Life Studies from Lamar Vocational College.

Nonetheless, so pasty white is the CU campus, that many in authority found Ward Churchill an attractive candidate to teach and later to become Department Head of something called Ethnic Studies and finally to be granted tenure without having to explain his elevation or the actual point of his department to anyone. But it sure looked good for campus diversity. Another real Indian like Vine DeLoria.

But what may seem a huge victory for the University of Colorado establishment against their troublesome colleague really is a further embarrassment. Anyone on the ball at all would never have allowed such a thing to happen. Virtually no worthy institution would have a department head who didn’t have a doctorate in that discipline, but Churchill doesn’t have a doctorate in anything and what degrees he has are in fields of study that could be called ‘tender.’ He has a Master’s Degree in Communications from a college campus no longer extant at the University of Illinois. Hello?

Two decades ago, KGNU had a CU instructor as a volunteer who did a great Castro impersonation, spoke high end Spanish, and who posed on many shows here in the 1980’s as an expert on the CIA and US history in Latin America, which admittedly is pretty shocking. These were the same years when Ward Churchill was starting his elevation at CU. I am far from approaching an expert on anything, but I knew a bit about the First World War and therefore about the Zimmerman Telegram, one of the most important incidents in Mexican American relations. When KGNU started doing call in shows, I interviewed Our Expert, our high toned authority on the CIA and Latin America, who had absolutely no idea about the Zimmerman Telegram. Had never heard of it.

I suspect he actually knew little about Latin American history, because he knew little about American. He was able to fool many of the gullible because he spoke Spanish and had all the buzzwords and left wing bombast down, and said what was wanted said by the Left. And look, God knows there was more right than wrong with the Left during the Reagan years. But I was amazed he was a CU instructor. And none of his fellows outed him.

In no way is this the equivalent of lying to invade Iraq, or the obscene tax relief to billionaires, the disgusting pander to racists, and the abominable exhaustion of armed forces to no clear purpose, the massive financial and ethical scandals that have made this the most corrupt and hypocritical administration in our history. And yeah, that’s saying something.

I’m pointing out that Democrats and those further along the Progressive Trail may need to remember why America has not lovingly embraced them in the presence of massive conservative failure on political and social fronts. It’s not because of the Ward Churchills. It’s because of the unnamed people in power who smugly allowed him a prestige he never deserved for image. And, they’ll still be about when Churchill is gone, just like the image he wrought for CU.